DESOPADEC: Memos, Protests Greet Assembly Committee | Independent Newspapers Limited
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DESOPADEC: Memos, Protests Greet Assembly Committee

Posted: Jul 16, 2015 at 8:38 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Felix Igbekoyi, Asaba


Discordant memoranda from various host communities have assailed the Delta State House of Assembly, over the ongoing amendment of the Bill establishing the Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (DESOPADEC).

Governor Ifeanyi Okowa had proposed to the House that “there shall be for the commission, a managing director and three executive directors, who shall be indigenes of the oil and gas producing ethnic nationalities,” just as the Assembly expects “favorable submissions.” from the communities.

However, Ijaw oil communities in the state on Thursday protested the move and threatened that, if the committee goes ahead to pass the Bill becomes, they would challenge the law with everything at their disposal.

The memos, numbering 30, mostly from concerned groups and stakeholders, urged the Assembly not to tamper with the nomenclature of the commission and other related matters as enacted in 2006 and that the Bill, when it is passed, would not negate the spirit of derivation.

The protesters, who were over 400 in number, led by Favour Izoukumor, claimed that the Bill was against the interests of the oil-producing communities, as DESOPADEC is supposed to cater for oil and gas communities alone.

They maintained that if the new law proposed by Okowa is passed, the whole state would become an oil-producing state.

Izoukumor said that one of the major challenges of the commission that should be revisited was that DESOPADEC should have five commissioners representing Urhobo, Ndokwa, Ijaw, Itsekiri and Isoko, instead of the earlier eight where Ijaw, Itsekiri and Isoko only had one each.

The chairman of host communities, Egedegbe, whose supporters, engaged his predecessor, Benji Eweta, in heated arguments at the public hearing held at the Assembly complex in Asaba on Wednesday, demanded to know why Okowa sponsored the bill to rename from “Oil Producing Areas” to “Oil and Gas Ethnic Nationalities.”


According to his group, the ongoing work of the House Committee on the Amendment was a ploy by the state government to hijack funds that are accruable to the oil communities.

He said, “The 50 per cent derivation funds to the commission should be published on monthly basis by the state government so that HOSTCOM can hold members on the board of the commission accountable for any shortage.”

He suggested that the yearly budget of the commission should be handled by the House Committee on DESOPADEC as being done for the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) in the National Assembly, instead of the old practice of laying it before the House Committee on Appropriation.